It's been 6 days since LadyBug delivered her cria. As I mentioned in my last post, the little guy was really struggling the first day, so we contacted our vet and left him in her expert care for the weekend. Having shown signs of improvement, we brought the two of them back to Pronkin' Pastures on Sunday evening. It all felt pretty precarious that first day - he was still quite wobbly and he still didn't seem very keen on nursing (though he would try if prompted). On top of that, LadyBug seemed quite agitated being confined to smaller digs while her baby gained strength. She was humming and pacing constantly - which made us wonder if she was stopping long enough for her baby to nurse. So we made some adjustments and let LadyBug and her cria into a larger pen with a select group of females that would be pleasant to the baby, but not overly interested to the point that they were interfering with LadyBug and her baby.
Slowly but surely, he seems better each day. We see him nursing on his own more and more, and happily following mom around the pasture. Each day we are adding a few more females to the group with them. We are even seeing him run and play a little bit.
Though we are not out of the woods, yet we are feeling relatively confident that he will make it, so we have finally given him a name!
We are pleased to introduce Rudy of Pronkin' Pastures...
This afternoon, Rudy will see the vet again for a plasma transfusion which we hope will help keep him on the right track! Keep your fingers crossed for Rudy!
Finally at 368 days gestation, LadyBug delivered her cria! Now is the part where I just don't know what else to say... We're delighted? Yes... well, sort of... We're worried? Yes, definitely. We're frustrated? Yes, that too...
So, here's what happened. LadyBug delivered a lovely looking, rose gray, male cria. By all appearances, he looks healthy and good. He is of average weight (14.25 lbs), his temperature was normal, and there were no signs of anything out of the ordinary. He has the coloring and markings of his daddy - and he's super adorable! So yes, we are delighted!
But for whatever reason, he is really struggling. He is weak, lethargic and simply not interested in mom, in nursing, or in anything. I spent the day doing everything I knew how to do to help, but all to no avail. And this is why we are worried. It's also why we are frustrated... What happened? And why? We already lost Laurel's cria (delivered early and stillborn).
So LadyBug and her baby boy will be spending their first night together at the veterinary clinic where he will be cared for and monitored. LadyBug will be milked and he will be fed her milk and a 'super formula' via feeding tube. He will also be treated with antibiotics and whatever else necessary to boost his energy. Please keep your fingers crossed for our little guy and LadyBug.
There are a lot of things we love about raising alpacas - and today is a good day to keep those things in mind. Farming can be hard work, but is also rewarding, satisfying, sometimes delightful and heartwarming... but it can also be deflating, disappointing, heartbreaking. Sadly, today was one of those days...
We had a busy day today - a good thing! The sun was out. We had a steady stream of visitors. We were diligently watching and waiting for the birth of LadyBug's cria. We were hopeful that she might deliver today as she is now at 355 days gestation. But that didn't happen.
Instead, our sweet Laurel delivered quietly and without even being noticed by us or her herd - a full month early. Sadly, her cria was stillborn. We don't know for sure why, but we suspect that the severe heat we experienced last week played a part in this sad occurrence.
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of this cria. We feel so badly for poor Laurel. Laurel has always been a sweet and attentive mother, and has delivered 2 of our best male crias - Alladin and Angus. As Laurel is getting a bit older, we already knew that this cria would be her last one. We had hoped that she would deliver a girl to follow in her footsteps. We are so sad...
So here we are, now at day 355 of LadyBug's pregnancy and we're still waiting for her to give birth to her cria. Although 345 days is considered average, gestational lengths vary, and there is no reason for us to worry. We just need to be patient.
Thankfully, LadyBug and the rest of the herd have been shorn! Our recent heatwave was hard on them, but we did our best to keep cool - including playing in the water from the hose and trying out the kiddie pool. Luckily, our heatwave has broken and we back to enjoying our typical Pacific Northwest temps.
These guys would have been miserable if they were in full fleece! Imagine wearing a 2 - 5 pound wool coat in 90 to 100 degree temps.
So shearing day came just in the nick of time. We hire a professional shearer. She and her capable team do the shearing and toenail trimming (and teeth trimming if needed). Our family and friends help with alpaca and fiber handling. We had a great team and were able to get 42 alpacas sheared in a day!
It's a relief to have shearing done for another year. The next step will be to skirt and evaluate all those fleeces and prep them for processing. More on that process later!
About the author:
Always an animal lover, alpacas entered my life in 2005.
I enjoy all aspects of life with alpacas - from caring for them, to training them, spinning and knitting their wonderful fiber, photographing them, and even writing about them!